The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Dr An­dre R. L. Matthew MD

Istill re­mem­ber quite vividly: she was a mid­dle-aged lady; an af­fa­ble look­ing mu­latta. There we were, pre­par­ing for the usual bar­rage of ques­tions from Pro­fes­sor Mirdo Espinoso, when one of my class­mates ran to our cu­bi­cle. “Dr. Mirdo!” he shouted, “there is a fe­male pa­tient in the pri­vate room who has be­come acutely ill, com­plain­ing of sud­den onset of chest pain.” Led by Pro­fes­sor Mirdo, we all rushed to her as­sis­tance.

Dr. Mirdo asked the lady a few ques­tions,then de­cided to take her blood pres­sure. I was a third year med­i­cal stu­dent at the time, look­ing on with lit­tle un­der­stand­ing of what was tran­spir­ing and even less knowl­edge of what to ex­pect.

Our much ad­mired teacher, a sec­ond de­gree spe­cial­ist in in­ter­nal medicine, con­sid­ered one of the best in Cuba, had just started wrap­ping the cuff of the sphyg­mo­manome­ter around her arm when she un­ex­pect­edly fell flat on the bed from her seated po­si­tion. In sec­onds, she be­came as pale as a fish and, shortly af­ter, she dark­ened into a deep blue rem­i­nis­cent of the seas ad­ja­cent to Gros Piton.

Then she started gasp­ing for air. Mo­ments later she was un­con­scious­ness, un­re­spon­sive, pulse­less, her pupils bi­lat­er­ally fixed and di­lated. Pro­fes­sor Mirdo stood next to her, his head bent; his shiny bald cra­nium was all we could see. Im­po­tently, he dropped the blood pres­sure mon­i­tor and walked away qui­etly.

That ex­pe­ri­ence shook my con­fi­dence in the med­i­cal sciences. I grap­pled with the thought that some­one could de­scend from full alert­ness to life­less­ness in a mat­ter of min­utes. Even more im­pact­ful for me was wit­ness­ing our greatly ad­mired pro­fes­sor of in­ter­nal medicine ren­dered to­tally in­ca­pable of sav­ing her life or, at the very least, pro­long­ing her death.

The au­topsy re­sults came back later that same day. She had died of a mas­sive pul­monary thrombo-em­bolism; a large clot which had trav­elled from her leg up to her chest and blocked the pul­monary artery, pre­vent­ing blood from leav­ing her heart.

From then on, I be­came a wimp. If I felt any tin­gle or twitch in my leg, I would get a panic at­tack. My heart would race like a stal­lion, beat­ing out of my chest; and I would be­come short of breath like I had just fin­ished run­ning a fifty me­tre dash.

That was then. Four years later I de­cided to face fear head-on. I made over­com­ing fear one of my pri­mary ob­jec­tives. So se­ri­ous was I in this fight against fear that I even de­cided to fight other peo­ple’s fears. I armed my­self with pos­i­tive thoughts, strong con­vic­tions and an un­wa­ver­ing trust in God and yes, Je­sus Christ our Lord! I also dis­cov­ered that acts of char­ity make the hu­man spirit stronger, fear­less even! ‘Love over Fear’ - a very sim­ple equa­tion, is a cure for any neu­rotic con­di­tion.

In Saint Lu­cia we live in a coun­try where in­tim­i­da­tion and threats of vic­tim­iza­tion force peo­ple to re­main silent. For a sim­i­lar rea­son, many con­tinue to stay away from pol­i­tics. They are afraid that their op­po­nents will of­fer for pub­lic con­sump­tion the di­nosaur bones hid­den in a dark place at home. So, de­spite three years of eco­nomic re­ces­sion and skyrocketing youth un­em­ploy­ment, ev­ery­one is still stand­ing on the side line.

Wake up my peo­ple! This ship is quickly sink­ing. We need all ca­pa­ble hands on deck. Men and women of all ar­eas of ex­per­tise are ur­gently needed to save what re­mains of our Fair He­len. But first, dear brethren, you must over­come your fears. Clear that hur­dle, and, as a peo­ple, we will be one step closer to

se­cur­ing a bright fu­ture. Dr. An­dre R. L. Matthew MD

is a mem­ber of the United Work­ers Party and is vy­ing for the po­si­tion of deputy po­lit­i­cal leader at the party’s con­ven­tion

next week.

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